Caren Stelson



for all

Following a Path with Heart


Recently I read a blog writ­ten by George Dow (May 2020), a good friend and busi­ness con­sul­tant for exec­u­tive tran­si­tion and trans­for­ma­tion, about fol­low­ing a path with heart. George’s quote from Carlos Castaneda from The Teaching of Don Juan, struck a chord in me.

“Anything is one of a mil­lion paths. Therefore, you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you feel you should not fol­low it, you must not stay with it under any con­di­tions. To have such clar­i­ty you must lead a dis­ci­plined life. Only then will you know that any path is only a path and there is no affront, to one­self or to oth­ers, in drop­ping it if that is what your heart tells you to do. But your deci­sion to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambi­tion. Look at every path close­ly and delib­er­ate­ly. Try it as many times as you think necessary.

Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have tra­versed long, long paths, but I am not any­where. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it does­n’t, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the oth­er does­n’t. One makes for a joy­ful jour­ney; as long as you fol­low it, you are one with it. The oth­er will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the oth­er weak­ens you.

Before you embark on any path ask the ques­tion: Does this path have a heart? If the answer is no, you will know it, and then you must choose anoth­er path. A path with­out a heart is nev­er enjoy­able. You have to work hard even to take it. On the oth­er hand, a path with heart is easy; it does not make you work at lik­ing it.” 

George added this short video to bring the point home. It’s worth the watch as a young Thai man walks his path with heart.

Working with Sachiko Yasui to tell her sto­ry of sur­vival after the atom­ic bomb­ing of her city, Nagasaki sent me on a path “with heart” ask­ing, “What is peace?” What does peace real­ly mean? What skills and abil­i­ties do we need to learn to be peace­mak­ers? How do we hold out our hands and invite oth­ers to come with us? For the rest of my life, I’ll walk this path with heart to help find answers, pos­si­bil­i­ties, new ways of being and becom­ing. We are in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020, requir­ing all of us to work togeth­er, not only for safe­ty and health, but for the changes to come after this dis­rup­tive world-wide calami­ty sub­sides. I think we know, in our gut, we are at a piv­otal point. We will need more peace—ever more peace— and more peace­mak­ers if the human race and plan­et earth is to sur­vive and thrive. Let us walk this inten­tion­al path with heart together.

3 thoughts on “Following a Path with Heart”

  1. When asked, “What is your reli­gion?” the Dalai Lama replied, “Kindness.” With that in ‘mind’ the appro­pri­ate path choos­es you.
    Without that, or That, in mind, you’ll walk your path with rough peb­bles in your sandals.


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